The King’s Deception

By Steve Berry

The Short Take:

Berry is my favorite in the thriller genre, and this outing is still stronger than most books of that category but it felt a touch forced to me. The “McGuffin” driving the plot just seemed exceptionally weak. That said, it was diverting, entertaining, and fast-paced, and that’s pretty much why one reads thrillers.


I’ve read all Berry’s books. I’ve also read more than my share of books about the Tudors (Henry VII through Elizabeth I). Since this plot was wrapped around a mystery from Tudor times, it would seem to be the perfect marriage for me. However, maybe too much knowledge ruins the fun of Berry’s thrillers, which draw from the past to create modern conflicts. Or it could be that with his eighth Cotton Malone book, Berry is just losing a little steam with this character. It certainly wasn’t as good as his last novel, which abandoned Malone and his cohorts for another, more vulnerable, hero.

There were the usual twists, reveals, and double-dealings; maybe even a few too many. There was also a complex family issue that didn’t really add anything except internal angst for several of the characters.

If this was the first Berry thriller I had ever read, I’m not sure if I would read more. However, I know I’ll still read the next one.

A Little Plot:

Cotton Malone and his son are headed to Copenhagen, with a stop in London. Doing a favor for his former boss, Malone agrees to escort a teenage fugitive back to England. However, the team that picks them all up at the airport turns out to be anything but official (or are they?).

From there a complex plot weaves around a secret from the Tudor era, the planned release of a terrorist convicted of bombing Pan Am flight 103, a disgraced agent, a brazen CIA plot, and international power plays.

To visit Steve Berry’s website, click here.

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